Traveling with kids can be both a fun adventure and unbearably stressful. If you will be flying with children for the first time – you need to plan ahead to help ensure your travels will run as smoothly as possible. Here are my Tips for Flying with Children:
1. Talk about planes and flying in advance. This is especially true if it’s your child’s first plane ride. Consider checking out books from the library to help your child become comfortable with flying. Don’t forget to talk about airplane safety and rules in advance as well.
2. Allow your child their own carry-on. Giving your child their own piece of luggage will help them feel more independent and in-control plus have the benefit of entertainment at their finger tips. I prefer a backpack since kids can be responsible for these without adding something else for Mom or Dad to carry. For me, having each child with their own “stuff” avoids fights over who gets what first.
3. What to pack:
- Snacks – kids want to eat constantly so make sure you can keep their tummy’s from grumbling. Plus a hungry child is a grumpy child. Make sure the snacks are easily consumed in flight – fruit, cereal or granola bars, banana bread and treats such as fruit snacks, candy or cookies work well. If you’re flying during meal time, consider packing a muffin or sandwich.
- Even if you grab a box of granola bars for $3.49 on your way to the airport – you’re getting 8-10 bars for that $3.49, not 1 bar for the same price in-flight.
- Don’t forget a napkin for the tray, wet wipes and hand sanitizer. I am a huge germaphobe – particularly on an airplane.
- Blanket or jacket – You want your child to be comfortable in-flight. Additionally, a favorite blankie may help your child nap or feel more relaxed.
- Entertainment – pack activities to keep your child occupied throughout the flight. New or forgotten books, coloring pages, crayons, travel games, cards and small electronics are just a few ideas.
- Don’t over pack – keep in mine the length of your flight and how easily the contents of your child’s carry-on bag could get lost. Allowing 5 DS games or marbles, may not be the greatest idea.
4. Expect delays: Flight delay’s happen. Remember to stay calm and factor in time for these delays in your travel plans. Getting though security, making flight connections and extra potty breaks also makes everything take longer. Ensure that you have allowed ample time to get to your destination, so you don’t arrive in a frenzy.
5. Window vs. Aisle Seat: I see advantages to both of these prime location seats. If you are traveling with multiple children or adults – try to get both seats. The window seat obviously provides a great view and opportunities for games and using your imagination (look for shapes, farms – some are square and some circle, colors, river lines, landscape variations, who lives there?, etc.). While having the aisle seat means your not asking a stranger to get up every 10 minutes so your child can use the restroom.
6. Pack an extra set of clothing. Yes, your luggage may not arrive when you do. But I’m talking about in-flight accidents that may require an outfit change. Your child may get motion sickness, have a diaper blow out or simply spill their drink all over themselves. It may also be a good idea to pack one of Dad’s t-shirt’s. That way either parent will at least have a clean shirt if necessary.
*Remember that you can’t take beverages with you through security. However, most flights offer free beverage service of soda and juice.
This is an example of what my child would have for a short flight:
- Pencil bag with colored pencils and crayons
- Coloring/Activity Book
- Reading Book
- DS with 1 game and headphones (I would have 1 other game to avoid it getting lost)
- Extra Clothes (baggie keeps it together plus could put dirty clothes back in)
- Small Blanket
- Snacks in baggie with napkin (I would have hand sanitizer and wet ones in my purse – plus gum for take off)
What are your Tips for Flying with Children?